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What is the dumbest comment about asthma you have heard?

I think in general, a lot of dumb comments are made due to ignorance and/or just not thinking before one speaks.  Has anyone ever made a dumb comment to you about asthma?  How did you handle it?

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Comments 29

  • Shea

    A friend asked if I could babysit his two (wild) children in a week, because his fiancee wanted to go to church the same night he picked up a Dj gig.. At first I said yes, but the next day I had a flare up in my disease, which effects my breathing horribly. I told him about it immediately, and that I wouldnt be able to babysit next week after all because my breathing was very bad, and I was fatigued (he also knows most of my medical history and that I am on disability for this disease). He then asked if I would reconsider because I was the only person who lived close enough to them for them to be able to do what they wanted to do. 

    First of all, who goes to church on a Wednesday night from 6 to 10? None of my business, but whatever. And, you want to DJ to make extra cash, whatever, but thats not like an emergency need. I cant breathe, I am on steroids, on disability, sensitive, single mother of my own 4 year old son, I tell you I cant because I have had a flare up… and you are asking me to reconsider because I live closest? I do not even get that. It really made me mad. I, of course, said no I really cant, I hope you find someone, I would recommend someone but I do not use sitters". I am not sure if his comment should have made me mad, but it just really made me mad.

  • K8sMom2002

    , Shea … I hate it when people don't accept your "no" as anything but a starting point for negotiations. 

    Most churches usually have a nursery or a children's program that is offered alongside of the adult programs — I know ours does. I'm surprised she couldn't take them with her.

  • Shea

    I dont know what the deal is with that "friend", but, I feel like he just tries to use people, and he STILL went on after I said I really couldnt babysit, and I even politely explained why and what type of symptoms I was dealing with that was preventing me, he said "I really hope you can work out your illness, we do care about you and so I have to say that it's kind of discouraging to hear that your ailments stop you from being able to follow through with things." And that really ticked me off because I cancelled less than 24 hrs after I accepted and it was a week away when I was supposed to babysit as well, for FREE as a favor, for them while they did things I do not consider even that umportant… so I feel that comment was insulting and inappropriate.

    Asthma is not something predictable, and he should know, he has a child with asthma, but I have a feeling he uses that attitude on his son too. And my disease involvrs more than severe asthma, it involves a lot of fatigue and concenrtation problems, I can handle mybson but (I didnt tell him this, but they are wild, dont listen, are distespectful, are constsntly jumping around and getting hurt and bleeding… every time).

    He is a user-type of person i have come to realize, so I am just going to let that "friendship" go. I do not need people unsupportive of me taking time off from helping THEM with something like that when I need to take care of myself. I do not need to be insulted for taking care of my health, I am a single mom, they are a two adult family, I am sick/disabled, he and his fiancee are both healthy, and I take care of my own son and house and self first, and whats left I give to others, but there is nothing left right now, and to have that type of response, when i just had babysat a week before for free, and hosted a halloween party they attended after that, and have helped out for free in the past… is just insane to me.

    I am not going to go into the full rest of the text conversation, but he also said stuff about how he thinks its my fault that I failed at getting better without meds because I didnt have my full mind into thinking positively, just put mind over matter and let the body heal itself off of meds he says, and that my support group and doctors are just people who accept having this .. and that he doesnt sympathize with me because he has always been healthy but if he was sick he would heal himself and show everyone else how too, and that even though I have tried alternative treatments and positive thinking, my failure was my own fault for not being dedicated enough, because i am not good at following through with things (which is another unwarranted insult, and i believe he us referring to when I used to pick his son up from school for free and watch him because he had no afterschool program, but after doing it for weeks I said I couldnt do it with plenty of notice, and said that he should look into another afterschool program for his son, but I do not consider that not following through, I was just helping out while he was in job transition).

    So that kinda blaming a person for their illness, and guilting them, and taking advantage of kindness with no gratitude..  just irritated me.

    My response:I told him I was offended by his comments and… to cut his foot off, then pray for it to heal back. And to go heal the world DJing, and his fiancee can take the kids to church, and dont bother stopping by my house anymore. 

    So hopefully I wont have to deal with that anymore.

     

     

  • Jen

    Illness or not, that's just flat out using someone. There definitely comes a time when we need to cut negativity out of our lives. Sounds like you've made a good choice. 

  • Shea

    Thanks. I am always sad to lose friends (but I realize he was really not a friend), I do not have many friends but I am trying to expand, and I have met some people at a community co-op, and a few neighbors that I am starting to warm up to. 

    One of the hardest parts with asthma is the other person thinking you are overdramatic while you think they are selfish and uncaring. It's like, if you can't breathe…. That's more important than anything else. It is not that I do not WANT to breathe. It is not that I am saying their plans are unimportant. It is that my ability to breathe takes precedence over their plans typically because attacks can be deadly, because I need to breathe. And it is to close friends and family that have seen me struggle. I am sorry I interrupted your weekly bike ride plan to help me out for a few hours, please do not make me feel guilty for it, just please come over so I can get this flare or attack under control. And I have run into this same issue over and over with friends and family…. And it is not that I ask for help often. It is usually not even me asking for help, but cancelling something to rest and help myself, or not going somewhere or doing something that I know would cause a flare. And I am not even mad at my asthma/churg-strauss syndrome, I am mad at unsympathetic reactions from others, and attitudes like the one above. I feel like I am going to lose people if I do not overextend myself, but I am starting to not care anymore. I just want to be healthy and I only want people around if they are going to be supportive of me getting to that health, if they care about me.  

  • Jen

    If people expect you to overextend yourself in order to stay in their lives, then those are people to step back from, imo. You need to do what's right for you. Hugs~~

  • K8sMom2002

    , Shea. I think you've hit on another "dumb" thing people say about asthma or any chronic condition — that we have this disorder because we're not doing the right things.

    They say things like, "You haven't tried this alternative 'cure' — it won't hurt, it's all natural."

    Or 

    "You haven't tried MY doctor — I don't have trouble like you do, and it's because I go to a different doctor. That doctor is making you sicker."

    Or 

    "If you continue to use that inhaler so often, your lungs will get dependent on it and then you'll never be able to do without it. Just calm down and you'll be able to breathe — look at me. I hardly ever have to use my inhaler."

    All of those are not true, by the way.

    Sometimes it just comes down to people not understanding that for them, asthma (or some other disorder) is a mild thing that doesn't disrupt their lives. But for others, for whatever reason and despite our best efforts, it can lay us low.

  • Mandy

    Personal favorites are "it's just asthma" and "I know you're always tired but…". The maybe's are great too…"get a pet to build up your tolerance", "maybe you should see another doctor (when I have and flown across the country to see other doc's)". As well, "You're a woman so it's probably just hormonal".

    Yeesh people are dense! Thank Goodness for all of you!

  • K8sMom2002

    People ARE dense — and even if it was "just hormonal," my word, if it's bad enough to do this, then we ought to get a little empathy, no? I am glad you guys are here and understand!

  • Shea

    My parents are really difficult. When we are at a place with my son, I do not let him eat certain things if I cannot find out the ingredients, and my mom will be like, "just let him have some, you have hus allergy bag with". And then after I say no, she says things like, "oh, its so good", and looks at him and he wants it more.. in my head I am like WTF… but its my mom, so I gently explain to her that my policy is, and I teach Tommy, that we do not eat foods that we cannot check the ingredients, especially breads, fried foods because they could have his allergens (soy flour, soy oil, nuts) in them. I told her that I have allergies and have had intestinal problems growing up because I constantly exasperated my allergies, and that got me no where good. Now this is my treatment plan for myself, and that my son has a sensitive digestion and known allergies and I am trying to keep him from getting worse, and these are the medical recommendations and I am adhering to them, and that it is not nice to tempt him, but instead point out what he can eat (which was cucumbers and lemonade, and grilled chicken if he wanted it, which he did not). People are ridiculous sometiment I mean, its like they do not believe it, or they want to hurt us, or just stupidity—so I assume stupidity… because they have seen reactions, we have tests… I just cannot figure it out, but I am surrounded by people like this, and it scares me.

  • Jen

    Shea – When it comes to food allergies, I think there are people who make those comments because a. they equate food allergies to environmental allergies b. they think of them as more of an intolerance and/or c.  they think if an accident happens, just epi and no big deal.  Doesn't make the comments any less frustrating, but these are all scenarios I have encountered.

  • K8sMom2002

     on people who think that an Epinephrine auto-injector is a safe way to have a food you're allergic to. That's like saying, "Gee, I can let this rattlesnake bite me because I have a vial of anti-venom handy." Who wants to go through all that?

    While Epinephrine auto-injectors are the first line treatment for severe allergic reactions, it's no guarantee. 

  • Shea

    Yes, you are right, Jen, I think that is what it is. They think it is no big deal to have an allergic reaction. I have even met people with allergies who do not think it is that big of deal. Lifelong struggle for me…. Multiple food and environmental… Both ended up being  serious and life threatening to me. But my family has seen it enough where my empathy for ignorance is gone, and they should know better. Because I am not messing around with my health or my sons anymore. K8Smom, you are right, I do not play with venomous snakes. I do not carry the "anti-venom" so I can play with snakes, or even stomp around in tall grass. No, I like to explore,  but I stay on the clear pathway that was made for me, and I keep my pack for snakes that might wander I to it, but I hope to never need it.

  • Jen

    Anyone hear any "gems" recently?  I know that for me, at least, all of the holiday get togethers seem to provide an opportunity for an interaction with at least one person who has something "helpful" to say.  

  • Mandy

    While I am not allergic to a darn thing (but am bothered by everything), scents and perfume assault me. A lady at work (who was doused in perfume in a " scent free" environment ) told me she is allergic too so she knows what it's like. I laughed at her (we've worked together for 14 years and enjoy each other when she isn't assaulting me with her smells). I also was told by another coworker that she needed to get a pet to build up "immunity". I pointed out that her allergy pills are working and doing their job. I could see the "lights turn on". Then she says "ya I don't do well if I miss a few doses"…DUH. Ah I love people!

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, my, Mandy, 14 years of perfume assaults! I'm glad you two can enjoy each other's company despite the perfume. And that the lights turned on for your other co-worker!

  • Rebecca

    I've had a chronic cough for as long as I can remember.  I do my best to keep it under control but people are always asking if I'm sick, I miss a lot of work etc.  I'm sure you're all feeling my feels here.I was notifying my boss that I was going to need thoracic surgery and possibly have some lung removed.  His reaction?  Annoyance, "Well, when are you going to be back?" was all he cared.Fast forward a few weeks, another girl in our office is sick with a cold, so she's got a cough.  My boss is asking if she's ok (everyone in the office can hear).  She says, "Maybe I need some antibiotics…".  My boss says, "Yeah maybe, I wonder if Rebecca has ever thought of trying antibiotics."I SAW RED.  Are you ******* kicking me you *******???  No, yeah, I'm going to submit myself to extremely dangerous, expensive surgery; But no, trying antibiotics HAS NEVER CROSSED MY MIND (or the minds of my many doctors).The overwhelming ignorance to the difficulty of having a chronic illness is deplorable.  The ONLY reason I didn't say anything was because this guy is my boss, otherwise I would have given a speech to the whole office.

  • K8sMom2002

    , Rebecca. I so get this. People can't seem to wrap their head around something — and sometimes it's worse if they THINK things are similar to what they know.

    I still remember the time my mom was on a vent in ICU, and a former boss was like, "Well, it's not like you can DO anything for her there. I mean, when my cousin was on a vent, they just weaned her off after a couple of days."

    Uh, riiight, except for the part that her cousin was a young, previously healthy auto accident victim, and my mom had COPD and asthma and had gone into respiratory failure — plus her DOCTORS were asking family members to stay close. 

    When do you think you'll have the surgery? What are your doctors hoping to accomplish? 

    BTW, it might be a great idea to start a new post on thoracic surgery — that way more folks can see it and support you along your journey, plus other folks may be considering something similar and would like to know more. 

  • Rebecca

    K8SMOM2002,Sometimes it just boils down to the fact that some people don't have the capacity to empathize until they've experienced something to that degree. That's why groups and sharing our stories is so important to our sanity.I'm so sorry to hear about your mom.  It's gut wrenching, but being there counts, it is "doing" everything <3I do wish I would've found this group sooner!  My surgery was in Sept 2016 for diaphragmatic endometriosis.  They had to remove a small portion of my right lung due to inflammation and scarring.  But thank goodness I didn't have any endo ON my lungs (just everywhere else ).I would have loved to have had this group in my back pocket for support and just general sharing of the INTENSE experience.I did, at least, have Nancy's Nook.  Of which, I would suggest as a must for anyone with endometriosis.Let me know if you think I should still create the thoracic surgery thread you suggested.Hugs <3

  • K8sMom2002

    Bummer on the endo — I've had three surgeries over the years for evil endo, and it's no fun. I have to say, though, that I've been lucky that the only non-reproductive organ it's cost me was my appendix. 

    I think lots of us here would be interested in how someone with lung/breathing issues would prepare for surgery and how you worked to get back to "fighting shape," if you know what I mean. Surgery for folks managing asthma means a bit more discussion and preparation with the anesthesiologist than those who don't have to manage asthma.

  • Jen

    Hi Rebecca,

    Welcome to AAFA's asthma support forum.    I would be pretty upset at some of those comments too.  It is really hard when someone questions what you are and aren't doing when you are dealing with a serious issue.  

    I would be interested in you starting a thread on thoracic surgery, your challenges since, etc.  My dh had the upper right lobe of his lung removed due to lung cancer (so happy to say that he is now 4 years out from surgery), so I am somewhat familiar with recovery, challenges, etc.  But, I know everyone's story is different.  Plus, you might have some ideas that he hasn't tried before.

  • K8sMom2002

    @Rebecca, how have you been doing? What sort of things are you working on to get over your surgery? I think that alone would be a good topic for a new thread. Check in here when you can — and in the meantime, I sure hope you don't have to endure any more dumb comments!

  • Pljohns

    I can top you all-I was in the food court of the local mall WITH MY 2 KIDS and some idiot called the mall cops and told them there was a lady in the food court with a CRACK PIPE.  When they got there and found out what it was, they were laughing hysterically-I was mortified and ripped the guy that called them a new one!  I also had a guy at work walk up to me and tell me he didn't know I vaped-

  • Jen

    Wow pljohns.   On the vaping comment, but mostly on the food court situation.  Did the mall cops say anything to that oh so helpful citizen that reported you?

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, that was a horrible situation to go through. I hope that guy learned something that day!

  • Pljohns

    I hope so too-that was one of the first times I used my neb in a public place-didn't do anything but mortify me so now I"m just too embarrased-I tend to hide in bathroom stalls or my car and if I can't get to either place-that's when I tend to just not do them (which is most of the time).  BAD habit I know, but I'm just too self conscious after that and the vape comment.

  • Pljohns

    I found a shirt that I'm going to copy and make that says that I will fight asthma because I have to and while I wish the people around me could understand it, I wouldn't wish it on them for the world-maybe when I wear it at least SOMEONE will remember and not stare at me when I'm having problems.